Quote Center: St. John's Postgame @ RV/24 Creighton


St. John's Head Coach Chris Mullin…

On what was the difference down the stretch of the game:
"[Seton Hall] came out and hit ten 3-pointers in the first half, but we didn't get discouraged. We played a great second half by maintaining our defensive intensity and worked our way back into the game. They obviously made some big plays, made some free throws when they had to, so congratulations to them I thought they executed. I was just proud of our effort."

On the play of Tariq Owens and Marvin Clark II:
"I encouraged them to get out and shoot more. With two of our guards down, we overloaded with our pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop stuff. Games like this are ones that will win ones for us down the road. With players getting extended looks, different roles, and with players stepping up at key times. I thought it was a great effort."

On turning up the defensive intensity in the second half:
"When all you're giving up is deep threes, that's not really bad defense. Sometimes you just have to give credit to good shooting. I wasn't all that concerned, and I thought that our defense was okay. They were really just hitting a lot of deep shots. Some of the shots were open, but they were deep. In the second half, I thought we did a good job of running them off the three-point line and making them try and score over our length. We went a little zone to conserve our energy with a short rotation, and you tend to give up shots with that. I thought our intensity was good for the entire game, but give the other team credit because they were making shots. We didn't really change a whole lot in the second half. We didn't play much zone either. Like I said, I appreciate our effort, and I think that effort is going to win a lot of games for us."

On feeling following close loss to top-25 team with battered lineup:
"I told our guys pregame that I just wanted them to compete. That's all I told them is to compete. With a different lineup, we were going to have to figure out our offensive and defensive lineups along the way, but I wasn't worried about that. I just wanted us to compete and we'll be fine. We came out and played hard, didn't get discouraged, and like I said I think that lineup we had is going to play dividends and confidence in our players once we get a full lineup. I think that's going to win us games down the line."

On play of Khadeen Carrington:
"He's been good his whole career. He's a player who can shoot, he's tough, and I really like him. I really like all of those guys. They're deep, obviously experienced, very unselfish, can shoot the ball really well, and I respect their coach. I have great respect for Seton Hall."

On the length of time Shamorie Ponds will miss with injury:
"I don't know. Both of our guys are day-to-day, and that's the truth. As soon as they are healthy, they will both play. I'm not a doctor, but I've been injured a lot so I understand the importance of treatment and properly getting them fully healthy."

On whether it was a challenge to coach with depleted lineup:
"I've only coached for a little while, but I've played in some crazy games with crazy lineups and crazy situations. So yeah, I don't think it was too difficult."

On the play of Justin Simon:
"Well, that's what he's been doing. We all were a bit disappointed in our effort the first time out [Dec. 28 vs. Providence], but like I said then, it's more important what you do the next time out. Be accountable. We watched the whole [Providence] game on film the other day. We flushed it out, took accountability, and then moved on. I proud of that from all of our guys. I talked to Tariq [Owens], Marvin [Clark II], and Bashir [Ahmed] on helping him. We knew that [Justin Simon] was going to be handling the ball a lot, but I thought that Tariq and Marvin both did a great job of popping open into space. It was a nice opportunity to show what you can do. Whether it be shooting it, driving it, or playing the two-man game, that's all stuff we work on. I don't really teach my system, but I teach our guys how to play basketball. Then I figure out what plays I want to run with those players."

On whether it's possible to feel good about a loss:
"I don't feel good about losing, but being transparent, we played well. We've played bad and won too, so I don't always feel good about that either. I have to be honest about the effort, but execution is important. Tonight was solid the whole way, but we just didn't get the win. It still hurts. It sucks, but you've got to be honest with the effort."

On whether it's frustrating to know what this was a winnable game:
"Those things happen. It's basketball. Just like injuries, those things are part of it. We are just going to put it behind us and move on. Happy New Year."

Redshirt junior Marvin Clark II…

On having a 3-point shot to take the lead:
"The way that they were guarding us allowed for this play to happen. We were running a high-ball screen and my man was leaving me when Tariq [Owens] caught the ball. He was making some open looks so they started leaving me open. He caught it, we went into a ball screen, he backed off of me, I saw a wide-open space, and it just didn't fall for me. Those are shots that I came here as a player. I left Michigan State to put myself in a position to be able to take those shots, and I'm thankful for the opportunity. I just have to keep working and knock those shots down."

On adjustments made in the second half:
"Of course our coaching staff said what they needed to say, but they weren't really upset. They made 10 threes and some were deep. If we look on film, I guarantee that they were all contested. That's just the way that it falls sometimes. One thing that I know is that our staff, from players to coaches, all believe in each other's abilities. We just told each other that we were still in this game. Down 10, on the road, to a top-25 team, and we just came out took it to another level. I think that we showed that we have other players on this team who are very talented and that we are a very good team."

Redshirt junior 
Tariq Owens...

On playing against a ranked team while shorthanded:
"It's the same mentality that we always have. We are missing two of our better players, and coming out without them was definitely an adjustment. We had to have that next-man-up mentality and everybody has to step up. Everybody just had to bite down and step up.

On mentality of the team in playing Seton Hall tight with small roster:
"We are a talented team and we all believe in each other. With or without [Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds], we believe in each other and they believe in us. [LoVett and Ponds] do a great job of encouraging us on the bench, talking to us, staying engaged, doing their part while on the bench, but it does make them difficult to play without them. Like I said though, we had to step up as a team today and I thought we did. Collectively as a defense, we stepped up. Offensively, we made it work. It was a tough one that we tried to pull out. It was a tough loss, but going through a battle like this with those two guys really lets us know that we can play with anyone in the country."

Joseph Jarzynka